News / Africa

Egyptian Protesters Denounce Military, Security Forces After Soccer Disaster

Fans from Al Ahly and Al Zamalek soccer teams chant slogans against the violence that occurred during a soccer match involving Al Ahly in Port Said, February 2, 2012
Fans from Al Ahly and Al Zamalek soccer teams chant slogans against the violence that occurred during a soccer match involving Al Ahly in Port Said, February 2, 2012

Thousands of Egyptians in Cairo have protested to denounce the country's military rulers and security forces for failing to prevent a soccer riot that killed 74 people and injured hundreds more in the northern city of Port Said.

Some protesters gathered Thursday in central Cairo's Tahrir Square while others marched to the nearby Interior Ministry, where riot police fired tear gas to keep them away.  A crowd also chanted slogans against the ruling military at a Cairo train station where survivors of Wednesday's riot were returning home, some of them injured.



Egypt's military-appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri said the government fired the board of Egypt's soccer federation and suspended Port Said's governor and security chiefs in response to the disaster, one of the deadliest in the history of the sport.  He announced the actions at an emergency parliament session.

The head of Egypt's military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, declared three days of national mourning and vowed to find the culprits. Police have arrested 47 suspects.

"God willing, if there is any person planning to destabilize Egypt, he will fail to achieve his goal," said Tantawi. "Everyone involved in this incident will be handed a fair sentence."

Some lawmakers blamed the riot on loyalists of former President Hosni Mubarak, ousted by a popular uprising one year ago, while others demanded the firing of Egypt's interior minister. The lawmakers also voted to conduct an investigation. Egypt has experienced a series of deadly incidents linked to poor security in the past year, leaving many Egyptians worried about instability.

Egypt's main stock index fell more than two percent on Thursday.

The head of world soccer's governing body FIFA sent a letter to Egypt's soccer federation demanding a full explanation of the disaster and calling it a "black day for football."  Sepp Blatter also said football is a force for good and authorities must not allow it to be abused "by those who mean evil."  Egypt's soccer league has been suspended indefinitely.

The Port Said riot erupted at the end of a match in which home team Al-Masry scored an upset 3-1 victory over Cairo's visiting Al-Ahly club.  As most police looked on, thousands stormed the pitch and panicked fans rushed for the exits but were crushed against locked gates.

VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott said the atmosphere in Port Said was tense Thursday, with troops deployed to prevent further battles between rival fans. She said some protesters in the city blamed the disaster on negligence by the security forces, while others called for retaliation against the fans who instigated the violence.

"It was a match, we were playing a game," said a football fan who was caught in violence in Port Said. "I though Egypt was better than this but we got beaten and injured. Many people died. The government provided army cars for us. We are now here."

"We are calling on all in the government to investigate and to help, so that the 74 people who died can have some justice," said another fan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More